On Saturday, March 28, the world will celebrate Earth Hour 2009. Once it hits 8:30 pm local time in every time zone, millions of participants will turn off their lights, and make a statement against global warming.
While pundits have debated whether Earth Hour really makes a difference, we already know it makes a difference in the hearts and minds of the people. I just finished watching Josh Tickell's rousing, inspirational Fuel documentary, so I'm awash with hope (it actually made me cry a little, as did An Inconvenient Truth).
A project of the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour has soared in popularity over the past few years, and now counts more than 100 cities and towns as supporters, agreeing to darken some of the nation's most famous skylines: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Around the world more than 1,500 cities, towns and villages in 80 countries will participate, as the darkness (in this case a symbol of hope) cascades across our planet, our only home. That includes Beijing, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Mexico City, Moscow, Nairobi, Paris, Rome, Toronto and Sydney, where the practice began.
For Earth Hour I plan on being at a going away party for a fellow green writer, and I'm told we will be observing the darkness, which should be a lot of fun. (I'll try not to wear too much vintage polyester, in case there's a lot of candles.) See how The Daily Green spent last year's Earth Hour in photos.
Need some suggestions for thing to do in the dark? We know you won't have trouble thinking of several, but everyone can use a little inspiration. See what many other cities and groups did last year, from toasting "eco-tinis," to night hikes and meditative yoga.
Also check out this cute video for Earth Hour, a parody of a certain precocious comedian. It's well done.
We're told that the building that hosts The Daily Green's office, Hearst Tower, will be going dark for Earth Hour. It is a gold LEED-certified green building, after all! Iconic landmarks and attractions in the U.S. that will go dark for one hour on March 28th include:
Celebrities who say they will participate: Oscar-nominated actor Edward Norton (the official US ambassador for Earth Hour 2009), Archbishop Desmond Tutu, actresses Janeane Garofalo, Keisha Knight Pulliam and Jennette McCurdy, fashionistas Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, as well as musicians Linkin Park, Alanis Morissette, Jo Dee Messina, Big Kenny (Big & Rich), Gavin DeGraw, KT Tunstall, Mary Mary, Dierks Bently, Wynonna Judd, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Lady Antebellum, SHeDAISY, Finger Eleven, Simple Plan, Justin Nozuka, The Veronicas, Rise Against and Coldplay.
Organizations: the American Federation of Teachers, Building Owners and Managers Association, National Council of 4-H, National Education Association, National Science Teachers Association, Newspaper Association of America Foundation, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Colleges: Columbia University, Gallaudet University, Howard University, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, University of Miami, University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of Virginia and Georgia Tech University.
Icons outside of the U.S. committed to shutting off their lights for Earth Hour include:
Photo caption: The Atlanta, Georgia skyline, darkened for Earth Hour 2008.
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